Osteonectin, extracted from foetal porcine calvariae with 0.5 M-EDTA, was purified to homogeneity by using gel filtration and polyanion anion-exchange fast protein liquid chromatography under dissociative conditions without the need of reducing agents. The purified protein migrated with an Mr of 40,300 on SDS/polyacrylamide gels and was similar to bovine osteonectin in both amino acid composition and in its ability to bind to hydroxyapatite in the presence of 4 M-guanidinium hydrochloride (GdmCl). However, unlike the bovine protein, porcine osteonectin did not bind selectively to hydroxyapatite when EDTA tissue extracts were used. In addition, purified porcine osteonectin did not show any apparent affinity for either native or denatured type I collagen, but did bind to serum albumin. Primary sequence analysis revealed an N-terminal alanine residue, with approximately one-half of the subsequent 35 residues identified as small hydrophobic amino acids and one-quarter as acidic amino acids. The only significant difference between the N-terminal sequences of the bovine and porcine proteins was the deletion of the tripeptide Val-Ala-Glu in porcine osteonectin. In contrast with bovine osteonectin, far-u.v.c.d. of porcine osteonectin revealed considerable secondary structure, of which 27% was alpha-helix and 39% was beta-sheet. Cleavage of the molecule with CNBr under non-reducing conditions generated five fragments, of which two major fragments (Mr 27,900 and 12,400) stained blue with Stains All, a reagent that stains sialic-acid-rich proteins/phosphate-containing proteins and/or Ca2+-binding proteins blue while staining other proteins pink. The 12,400-Mr fragment bound 45Ca2+ selectively, indicating a Ca2+-binding site in this part of the molecule. The 27,900-Mr fragment did not bind Ca2+, and since biosynthetic studies with 32PO4(3-) did not show phosphorylation of porcine osteonectin, this fragment is likely to be highly acidic. The incomplete cleavage of the molecule with CNBr and the ability of the molecule to regain its secondary structure after exposure to 7 M-urea are features consistent with the molecule having a compact structure that is stabilized by numerous disulphide bridges. The chemical and binding properties of porcine osteonectin are closely similar to the recently described ‘culture shock’, SPARC and BM-40 proteins, indicating that these are homologous proteins.

This content is only available as a PDF.